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Maggot Brain

by Funkadelic

Released July 12, 1971 via Westbound Records

Reviewed July 13, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Maggot Brain (87%), Hit It and Quit It (52%), Can You Get To That (42%)

Maggot Brain is an artistic landmark that points to the likes of Prince, Parliament, and the future of rock music; regardless of whether those that came after it would admit to its influence on their sound. This album’s existence is ever-moving and ever-expanding before the listener’s ears. The title track, which also acts as an introduction, quite literally is this record’s Big Bang. Whether the listener was ready for a cosmic explosion or not, Funkadelic gives them no chance to ask if what they’re listening to is from this world or another. George Clinton acts as the head of a great alien life form and takes the reins as conductor and figurehead for the band’s twists and turns through funk, rock, and psychedelia. The cavernous echoes of “Maggot Brain” could be followed by warm soul, off-kilter funk, or head-banging rock ballads; it just depends which world you want to dive into first. The black experience could seem alien to the many unwilling to see it, but it takes an album like Maggot Brain to force those eyes and ears open without asking if they’re ready. – Ben (Synth) (10/10)

Existing in between, underneath, above, and all around the funk and rock atmosphere, Maggot Brain is a truly indescribable venture by the legendary George Clinton-led group, Funkadelic. It’s hard to believe when experiencing the raw energy of Maggot Brain that its roots lie in doo wop and soul, as its hard-charged instrumentations, expansive choral arrangements, and bookended structure reside leaps and bounds away from the tone of Funkadelic’s ancestral group, The Parliaments. Naturally, as the late 60’s (and psychedelic substances) rolled into the periphery of the music industry, Funkadelic formed full-throttle, producing Maggot Brain as its magnum opus and a piece of musical history that artists in times since have looked to for inspiration. A large part of its success are its immense intro and outro which seem to mimic the life cycle of the star, “Maggot Brain” with its expansive emptiness save for the building pressure and suspense of the tastefully distorted Eddie Hazel guitar solo and the supernova-like expansion of energy of “Wars of Armageddon,” capping the album off with an appropriately abrupt but explosive ending. The content between the beginning and end gracefully navigates a disorienting but wholly gorgeous psychedelic landscape, and Maggot Brain still stands today as one of the most awe-inspiring displays of rock music. – Pax (10/10)

Anyone will tell you, from Bo Diddley to Yves Tumor, that the Black consciousness has been genetically intertwined with rock music since its inception, going as it went. P-Funk is one of the several most influential acts along that entire timeline, thanks in part to the legacy of their third album, Maggot Brain. The album begins and ends with epically staged 10-minute instrumental pieces, with a 20-minute rollercoaster of funk stretched in the middle. Maggot Brain, released in 1971, is lauded for its high-level contemporary merit, and its futuristic outlook on expanding rock music’s potential for years to come. Raw and fuzzy to start, the album fully embraces the spirit of psychedelic rock, before emerging from the haze, funky and black. By iconically stringing together musical and lyrical themes of righteousness, funk, the human life cycle, and psychedelia with the far-out and bizarre, Funkadelic birthed an archetype only they would go on to improve, despite many emulations and impressions of their influence. – DeVán (8.5/10)

Maggot Brain, a legendary album and sure shot classic of the funk sphere, turns 50. It's the third album from George Clinton's Funkadelic crew, and the last to feature the original band’s lineup. MaggotBrain is seven tracks in total, five shorter tracks book-ended by extended cuts. “Super Stupid” is exactly what the title would lead you to believe. Not stupid in a 'dumb' sense: stupid in the sense of how incredible it is. It’s somehow a great time that sounds both so raw yet presentable. The album’s closing track “Wars of Armageddon” has hip-hop written all over it. Not in a lyrical or instrumental way, but rather in its feel and flow. Notorious B.I.G.'s ReadytoDie intro spiritually resides within the walls of the track, while Dr. Dre, The Bomb Squad, Del the Funky Homosapien and The Pharcyde all take inspiration from the collage-like way in which the track progresses. For 1971, MaggotBrain is a product of its time, while remaining timeless through its incredible influence on the future. – Peter (8.5/10)

Ben (Synth): 10/10 | Cam: 10/10 | Daniel: 10/10 | Pax: 10/10

Alan: 9.3/10 | Dominick: 9/10 | DeVán: 8.5/10

Jared: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8.5/10 | Victoria: 8.5/10

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